Author: Christopher
•4:33 PM
Yet another response to a college student who wrote:

"I disagree with many of your points, Christopher. In particular, I submit that Christianity has everything to do with morality. ...Similarly, the New Testament plainly shows us how to live for Christ by dying to ourselves and seeking after righteousness. It is possible, though you seem cynical about it. ..."

My Response:

Hello, Jesse! I did want to write a short reply to you just to clarify my position.

You are absolutely correct that those who lived under the old covenant of works "often fell out of righteousness (right standing with God)." However, wouldn't you agree that under the new covenant we have been given the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) which we have received by faith? And, isn't this righteousness the righteousness of God himself (2 Cor. 5:21) and therefore unchangeable and unending? Therefore, we no longer need to seek after righteousness once we are saved; we possess it! (I believe the verse you have in mind is Matthew 6:33, which I take as an invitation to salvation not as an invitation to right living.) Also, the very basis of the New Testament is that God says he will put his "laws into (our) mind, and write them in (our) hearts" (Hebrews 8). This is a reference to God himself, as his Spirit, living in us and guiding us into a life that pleases Him. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

My only argument is that where religion wants to force a man to change from the outside-in (from the bodily actions to the heart), Christianity changes a man from the inside-out. If he will let it. Man's responsibility is to "yield" (Romans 6) and to "let" (Phil. 2:5) God do his work through us. It seems like a minor point, but it is the difference between allowing an apple tree to produce the fruit which it will naturally produce, or standing behind a pulpit and yelling at it to do the same thing.

The New Testament assumes that our "new creature"-ness will affect a change on our outward behavior as we yield to God. Religion assumes that the regenerate man is just as prone to disobedience as the unregenerate man, but why then did Paul call them "saints"? Religion produces hypocrites who are right on the outside, wrong on the inside, and powerless to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ which is, at its heart, a new life...not a new morality. If businessmen, or anyone else, would make a change in this world, then they must first realize that salvation is of the Lord, and sanctification is as well.

I am not negating our will or our choice in the matter. I am simply saying that, given the absence of weeds and the presence of sunlight & water, roses will bloom all by themselves. Many believers are not walking holy lives because they have not been taught that they are, by their very nature, blameless before the eyes of a holy God. They are bound with 'shoulds' and 'should nots' and heaped with such condemnation that they second guess their dreams, their actions, and their very salvation. No wonder they sit in their pews week after week!

Well, I better stop now before I go overboard. I hope this was not too offensive; it was not meant to be. I am simply trying to set forth the New Testament as I see it. Again, I thank you for your response.
Author: Christopher
•9:34 PM

We had to write about being a 'committed' Christian businessman for class. Oh great.

Here it is:

As a young believer, I was taught to walk the aisle, confess my sins, rededicate my life, and that somehow by re-doubling my efforts, I could be a better Christian. In the book of Judges, the nation of Israel sinned, experienced suffering under the ungodly Philistines, repented of their sins, rededicated themselves to God, and then what? They fell into sin again. They repeated the cycle over and over as a nation. This is life under the Old Testament with its self-effort and failure. This is religion imploring us Christians to commit ourselves to live better, walk with God more, and check off the list our actions of obedience: had a quiet time, read the Bible, went to church, etc.

But this is not the teaching of the New Testament. Paul did not set his vision in Philippians chapter one. Rather, he declares his “earnest expectation” and his “hope” (Phil. 1:20, KJV). Not his goal. Not his purpose. In 1:6, Paul tells the Philippians, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” It is God’s work in them that Paul was confident of, just as he was confidently expecting God to work out in his own life “all boldness” (v. 20). He was not talking about a personal vision, but the “fruit” (v. 11) of being in a right relationship with God through Christ.

The command to “live for Christ” does not occur in the New Testament, and yet it is preached from the pulpit of many churches. God never asks us to live for Christ. He asks us to believe that we have died with Christ, and that we have been raised again in Him. Paul declares this plainly, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Or, as Paul tells the Philippians in 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

The reason that Christians fail in their commitment to Christlikeness is because no one can live the Christian life. Failure is the only option for those who seek to follow God in their own strength. Some, who have a stronger will, or who are more naturally pleasant, will give the appearance of Christlikeness, but their own inner guilt and self-condemnation will betray them. Their walk is merely a portrayal of what they think is Christ and not the very life of Christ lived out in the Spirit within them.

As this pertains to Christian businessmen, I would say that Christianity is not about morality. It is not about right and wrong. It is about life, and more specifically, it is about Christ’s life living through you. As you “yield your members” (Romans 6:13) to the Spirit of God, He will cause the fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) of righteousness to be evident in your life. Honesty and propriety (I Cor. 13:4-8) in business will naturally flow from your heart, not as an overwork but as an overflow. And, the glory will go to God, not to your own fleshly efforts.